Growing the Desert Garden

Welcome to the Desert Garden, with garden coach Tyler Storey, where we talk about everything having to do with gardening and landscaping in the Desert Southwest. From composting to Cercidium and agaves to arugula — we'll cover everything you want to know to grow your own beautiful Desert Garden.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

From the Inbox: Fruitless Pomegranate

From a Correspondent:

My pomegranate, which has happily grown in my back yard for about five years now, has beautiful flowers every year but never any fruit. A friend said it was because I wasn't watering it. But after reading your post, I'm wondering if mine might simply be a non-fruiting variety. The flowers look more like pink carnations than the blooms you show.
Maureen, Phoenix, Ariz.

Congratulations Maureen,

From the picture you sent, it's clear you are the possessor of a truly beautiful pomegranate. A beautiful, and, in the most literal sense, fruitless, pomegranate. No amount of water will make it set fruit.

I admit to a great bias in favor of edible plants. Fruitless flowering plum trees and flowering pear trees seem rather silly things to put in the landscape when we consider that fruitful varieties of the same plants provide the same floral display, and, for about the same investment of water, provide edible fruit at the end of the season. Those are fruitless in a more figurative sense: purposeless, pointless, and wasteful.

Your flowering pomegranate falls into a slightly different category; in order to produce good fruit, a fruiting pomegranate requires not heavy but steady irrigation throughout the fruiting season; wide fluctuations in soil moisture levels result in dry and split fruit. A flowering pomegranate, on the other hand, does just fine with much less water, and will still provide you with beautiful bright green foliage and stunning flowers.

If you want to add pomegranate fruit to your landscape, go to a reputable local nursery and ask for a fruiting pomegranate variety called "Wonderful." It provides the best and most reliable fruit.

I hope this helps,


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